Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review #268 - Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Freaks Like Us

When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend, Sunshine, disappears from the face of the earth, the whole town, including Jason, starts searching for her. But the insistent voices in Jason’s head won’t let him get to the heart of the mystery—he’s schizophrenic, and the voices make it hard to know what is real and what is not. As the chase becomes more panicked, Jason’s meds start wearing off, and he is looking more and more guilty. But of what, exactly?


Both brilliantly witty and intensely honest, this poignant novel draws upon the author’s many years as an adolescent psychologist, but it’s Vaught’s powerful voice and expertly crafted mystery that will keep the pages turning.
My Rating: 3.5/5
I received this book for review from Bloomsbury Australia.
This was a very interesting book to read. The whole aspect of mental illness was different to anything I had previously read.
The protagonist Jason has Schizophrenia and so at times he was hard to understand especially towards the end when he stopped taking his medicine. Although, this was definitely my favourite part of the book as I felt like it accurately portrayed  what I think the mind of a Schizophrenia would be like.
Apart from Jason, I didn't think any of the other characters were developed enough. Given the importance of Sunshine, not enough is learnt about her.
The ending was a bit of a disappointment as I thought that it was building up to something much more than what eventuated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review #267 - Grey's Anatomy by Chris van Dusen and Stacy McKee

Grey's Anatomy

A sexy, high-concept, behind-the-scenes peek at the lives and loves of Seattle Grace's most popular doctors . . .On ABC's mega-hit Grey's Anatomy, when surgical interns Meredith, Cristina, Izzie, George, and Alex (not to mention neurosurgeon Derek, aka Dr. McDreamy) arent putting in long hours at Seattle Grace Hospital, theyre flirting, gossiping, and drowning their sorrows at the Emerald City Bar. In one location, Nurse Debbie sees it all; in the other, Joe the bartender hears it all . . .


Grey's Anatomy is styled as two books in one -- read from one side to get Debbie's hospital scuttlebutt, and from the other for Joe's alcohol-fueled tidbits. Notes from the Nurse's Station and Overheard at the Emerald City Bar are packed with new information on pivotal events. This is the book the show's millions of fans cant wait to read.
My Rating: 3/5
Given that I just rewatched Grey's Anatomy seasons one and two over the last couple of days, I finally decided to read this book.
This book is split into two different stories. They only differ slightly in plot, but told from two different points of view.
This would be a good book to read if you haven't watched seasons one and two for a while as it goes over all the memorable patients and key plot twists over those two seasons.
I wouldn't recommend this book to people unless they are familiar with the show.
There are a few other Grey's Anatomy books out there which at this stage I am not really interested in reading.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review #266 - Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Picnic At Hanging Rock (Popular Penguin)

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others...
My Rating: 2/5
I have been aware of this book for as long as I can remember. It is one of the most popular Australian books and so I am really disappointed that I didn't like this book as much as I was expecting to.
The main issue I had with this book was the writing style. I found the language used was really old-fashioned and I had a hard time interpreting it at times.
Another issue I had was character development. At the end of the novel I found I didn't really care for any of the characters nor did I remember hardly any of their names.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review #265 - Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)

She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave.


Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.
My Rating: 4.5/5
This seems to be a book that people either love or hate. Whilst I can see why people might not enjoy it, I really did like this book.
The whole Zombie aspect was entirely unique. I liked how they could only fight the Zombies whilst in spirit form.
Plotwise, there were no real surprises until the last few chapters. Although the amount of action made up for it.
The characters all had strong personalities. I really did like Cole, but would have liked him to have developed more. Alice was strong and for the most part I did like her. Kat was a character that I had a love/hate opinion about.
I am curious to see where the author takes this story in the sequel Through the Zombie Glass.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review #264 - The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #3) by Jeff Kinney

The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #3) 

Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other "manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.

My Rating: 4/5

I read this book as fast as I read the others in the series. Once I start reading these books I tend to finish them in one sitting. 

The main reason why I was unable to give this book five stars was because there was less stuff happening than in the previous two books. 

Another reason I didn't like this book as much as the previous two was because my two favourite characters Rodrick and Rowley were barely present. 

The humour was still at the same quality as the others and as long as that remains, I will continue to love this series.   

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review #263 - A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Time

Talia fell under a spell...Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic...

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels...The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?
My Rating: 4/5

I didn't expect to like this book as much as Beastly but there were aspects in this book that I thought were superior.

I didn't completely connect with either of the two main characters. They both seemed better whilst they were together. When they were apart Talia came across as spoilt and Jack as arrogant.

The plot at first I thought was unrealistic and I was thinking that I wasn't going to like it. Once the characters travel back to Miami, that was when I started to become immursed in the story.

The only part of the book that I didn't really like was the ending. It felt a little rushed and seemed too perfect.

Compared to Beastly, I thought this book had a lot more action and adventure involved. There was a broader range of locations used which helped.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review #262 - Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls

'Ruby said I’d never drown - not in deep ocean, not by shipwreck, not even by falling drunk into someone’s bottomless backyard pool...It sounded impossible, something no one would believe if anyone other than Ruby were the one to tell it. But Ruby was right: The body found that night wouldn’t be, couldn’t be mine.’

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
My Rating: 5/5
I really loved this book. This is the best book of the year for me so far. It was completely absorbing and I didn't want it to end.
This is the second book in a row I have read where the protagonist is named Chloe. I really liked Chloe and her relationship with her sister Ruby was one of the highlights of the book.
The settings in this book were so realistic, especially the portrayal of the reservoir which was a very spooky kind of place.
The entire book it felt like an explanation was on the next page, which is why I read it so quickly. There were times where I thought I could predict the ending, but I was always way off.
It wasn't fast paced, but it felt like it at times because I was so immersed in the story and wanting to find out what was going on.
This is definitely a love or hate book, and I can see why some people would hate it, but luckily I wasn't one of them.
I am someone who hates it when the ending doesn't have a definitive ending, but the way this book ends I probably wouldn't have been happy had it ended any other way.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review #261 - The Reckoning (Darkest Powers #3) by Kelley Armstrong

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, #3)
They gave Chloe Saunders her power.
Now they want to take it back. Big mistake

Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately she happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. Now she and her equally gifted (or should that be 'cursed'?) friends are fighting for survival against the evil corporation that created them.

As if that's not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she's leaning towards the werewolf...

Definitely not normal.
My Rating: 4/5
I liked this book a lot more than The Awakening, however The Summoning remains my favourite book of the series.
This book had a lot of action and adventure which was mostly found in the second half of the book.
I was not able to connect with Derek. He was my least favourite of the main characters. Chloe was the only character that I fully connected with. I had mixed feelings with Simon and Tori.
The love aspect, I felt just came out of nowhere. It wasn't that there was no build up to it or anything, I just failed to feel the chemistry between the two of them.
What I did like about the romance aspect was that it was not a dominant aspect and was more in the background.
The ending seemed a it abrupt, like it was leaving the door open for another book, however it was my favourite part of the entire book.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #18

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Each week features a different topic, and you make a top ten list about it.
This weeks question is my top ten 2013 reading goals:
1. Read at least 200 books.
2. Read at least 150 from my TBR
3. Finish at least half the series that I have started.
4. Read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - been on my bookshelf the longest unread.
5. Finish the year with as many books on my read shelf as on my unread shelf.
6. Read less books from the Library
7. Read two books to every book that I buy
That's all I can think of right now. I will update this post if I can think of three more.

Book Review #260 - Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
My Rating: 5/5
I have put off reading this book for so long because I was worried it wouldn't meet my huge expectations.
For the most part this book did exceed my expectations. The only aspect that didn't was the world building as I thought that could have had more depth.
The amount of action it contained surprised me. It was really enthralling and kept me on the edge of my seat.
I really liked all the characters and even the evil characters still had great personalities. No characters blurred with one another.
At first when I started reading this book it was a little slow but when I got to a certain point (which I can't pinpoint) I wasn't able to put it down. I ended up reading this book in less than a day.
I didn't like any of the characters instantly. Tris I liked by the end of the first few chapters and Four I didn't like until his real name was revealed. The relationship between the two of them I didn't feel until near the very end. For this reason I am keen to re-read it again soon.
Out of the secondary characters my favourite was Caleb and I'm not even sure why. I just felt interested in him for some reason.
It will probably be a while before I read the sequel Insurgent as I don't even have my own copy yet.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review #259 - The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl #1) by Barry Lyga

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy’s new little brother or sister.

Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he’s been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and—most important of all—a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and all the people that make it hell for him.

When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can’t resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice—to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.
My Rating: 5/5
I didn't really know what to expect from this book. I had read mixed reviews before reading and given that I have limited knowledge of comic books/graphic novels my opinion for this book could have gone either way.
What initially drew me into this book was the character of Fanboy. I liked him instantly and that helped me to become absorbed in the story.
The character of Kyra aka Goth Girl I thought I had the potential to like more that what I actually did if she wasn't constantly coming in and out of the story.
The storyline, although predictable at times I thought was interesting and completely absorbing.
Given that Goth Girl is the narrator in the second book and Fanboy was the main reason I liked this book I am sure I won't like the sequel as much as this one, but I am still excited to read it anyway.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Follow Friday #56

Gain New Blog Followers

Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.
This weeks question:
What New Years Blogging or Writing resolution have you placed on yourself?
I have planned to read 200 books which is 50 more than in 2012. It will probably depend on how many books I get to in September and December whether I accomplish this or not as they tend to be the two months I am too busy to read much.
Blogging wise I want to be more flexible with my reviews. Towards the end of 2012  I was posting a review every weekday and so I ended up reading really short books at the end of the week to get the reviews in. I would still like to be able to review at least 4 books a week.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review #258 - Outside In by Chrissie Keighery

Outside In

The cool group at school is not as luminous as it seems. Sure they appear to have it all, but there are problems lurking just below the surface.
Beautiful Jordan is struggling to cope because of her newly divorced parents, Meredith covers her past by playing the clown, Cecilia hides her feelings and a shameful secret, Sam is growing up, and Jack is caught off-guard when he falls in love for the first time. And then there's someone else. She's not part of the group. The others have no idea she's there. But she knows that there are cracks. She watches them from the inside, out. From the outside, in.
My Rating: 3/5
I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont Australia.
I really wanted to like this book more than what I actually did. I was liking it at first, but the continual changing of point of view made it impossible for me to connect with any of the characters.
This book covers realistic issues which would be relatable for anyone reading who has been through any of them. Because of this I can see others are going to love this a lot more than I did.
I did like the writing style though and so I am hoping I will like the author's other book Whisper which I am planning on reading next week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review #257 - Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Life in Outer Space

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.
My Rating: 5/5
I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont Australia.

I always love to read a really good book in early January as it sets the benchmark for the quality of books I hope to read in the year. This is that book.
The characters were my favourite aspect. This was because they were so vividly portrayed, and not just the main characters. This is probably the first book I have ever read where I don't have a favourite character, because I loved them all.
I really enjoyed all the film references as I am a movie buff like Sam.
I was also surprised that the author's only other published works were picture books as her writing was really engaging.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book Review #256 - The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) by Lemony Snicket

The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5)

Dear Reader,
If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don't. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.
Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.
It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night's sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.
With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket
My Rating: 3.5/5
This is the first book I have read for 2013. It is also my least favourite of this series so far.
The reason I didn't like this book as much as the previous ones was because there was just a lot less going on.
What I did like about this book was that there were some good characters. Mostly other than Violet, Klaus and Sunny all the other characters are evil. However, in this book there were the Quagmire triplets who look like they will also be in the next instalment.
I am going to take another break from this series, as this seems to be a series I can't take too much of at a time. I do however hope to finish them all by the end of the year.

2012 End of Year Survey

Book Survey 2012

Hosted by Perpetual Page Turner

1. Best Book You Read in 2012?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't?
The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
3. Most Surprising Book (In a Good Way) of 2012?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
4. Book You Recommended to People Most in 2012?
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
5. Best Series You Discovered in 2012?
The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
6. Favourite New Authors You Discovered in 2012?
Amanda Hocking
7. Best Book That Was Out of Your Comfort Zone or Was a New Genre for You?
I usually avoid classics so Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
8. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2012?
Any of the Pretty Little Liars books I read.
9. Book You Read in 2012 That You Are Likely to Re-Read Next Year?
None probably. I have a lot of unread books I have to read and will probably re-read other books so I can finally finish some series.
10. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2012?
Love Is the Higher Law
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
11. Most Memorable Character in 2012?
Anne Frank
12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2012?
Every Day by David Levithan
13. Book That Had the Greatest Impact On You in 2012?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2012 to Read?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2012?
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
16. Shortest & Longest Books You Read in 2012?
Longest - Mage's Blood by David Hair - 671 Pages
Shortest - The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey - 86 Pages
17. Book That Had a Scene In It That Had You Reeling and Dying to Tell Somebody About It?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. There are two massive plot twist towards the end.
18. Favourite Relationship From a Book You Read in 2012?
Harper and Gemma from Wake and Lullaby by Amanda Hocking.
19. Favourite Book You Read in 2012 From an Author You Read Previously?
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
20. Best Book That You Read Based Solely on a Recommendation From Somebody Else?
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby